Welcome to the first installment of my new three part series! I’m gonna be doing an in-depth comparison of the Amazon Echo against the new Google Home. Which assistant deserves the crown, and which one is worth your money? There are three parts to this series: music, skills and services, and general questions. In each part, I’ll be taking a close look at each feature within the category. Let’s get started.
DISCLAIMER: This series is intended to compare the software of the devices. For my comparison, I’m using an Echo Dot (2nd Generation) up against the Google Home. The speaker quality and other hardware has no impact on the score.
Here are a few commands I asked both personal assistants:
“Play for KING & COUNTRY”
“Play Ambient Music”
Essentially, the commands came out about even. The Echo “tripped” once, and the Google Home had a fail when it played a cover of “Rude” by MAGIC! instead of the actual version. As far as the commands, I’m calling it a draw. Now it’s time to talk about another aspect of music: playing audio from your phone.
The two assistants handle this differently. With Alexa, you have Bluetooth capability. This means that you can connect your phone via Bluetooth, and any and all audio played on your phone will now be played through your Echo. Over on the Google side, there’s no Bluetooth to be found. You can only play audio from your phone via Google Cast. This has it’s pros and cons. It’s more efficient, because it streams over WiFi. It’s pretty laggy, though, so if you’re trying to use it as your speaker for watching some videos, forget it. The audio will be so delayed that the video won’t make sense. This is perfectly acceptable for listening to just music, but doesn’t cut it for listening to audio. Bluetooth has a little less latency, but has a shorter range and tends to be a battery hog.
There’s one more important thing to mention: Bluetooth works on just about any device, where Google Cast is only fully supported on Android. What does fully supported mean? You can only stream all of the audio from your phone to the Home if you have Android. With iOS, it’s still possible to use Google Cast, but you can only use it within Google Cast enabled apps, i.e. YouTube, Spotify, etc. While most of the apps you may be interested in using have Google Cast, it’s important to note that Apple’s own apps, such as Apple Music, do not support it. With Bluetooth on the Amazon Echo, you can listen to songs via Apple Music. On the Google Home, this simply isn’t possible.
In conclusion, I’m calling it a draw for this category. It comes down to what ecosystem you’re in. If you’re a hardcore Apple user, or if you use Amazon Prime Music, the Echo will suit you best. If you’re invested in Google, and you use Google Play Music and/or have an Android phone, you’ll want to go with the Google Home.
We’re all tied up, but there’s still two rounds to go! Which device are you rooting for? Drop a comment below!